What is it?

Interstitial cystitis is a part of a group of diseases known as painful bladder syndrome.. It is a chronic condition in which the patient experiences bladder pressure, pain and sometimes even pelvic pain. Normally, when the bladder is full, there is neurological signaling detecting the brain regarding the need to urinate. In interstitial cystitis, these signals are interfered, without any known reason, and there is an often need to urinate with smaller volumes of urine. It affects primarily women and it may be associated with other chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of chronic interstitial cystitis vary between patients and within the same patient over time. Symptoms may include pelvic pain, perineal pain, urgent and constant urge to urinate, freqent urination of small amout, waking up at night to urinate, pain during sex and pain during the bladder getting filled.


Interstitial cystitis diagnosis includes medical history, bladder diary, pelvic exam, and a urine test to rule out urinary tract infection. Cystoscopy may be used to evaluate the bladder’s lining and measure its capacity, during cystoscopy a biopsy may be taken. Urine cytology may be performed to rule out cancer. A special test called potassium sensitivity test may be performed, if the patient is more sensitive to the potassium solution than the water solution injected to the bladder, doctor may diagnose interstitial cystitis.


Treatment of chronic interstitial cystitis may include physical therapy, medications that improves the symptoms such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines and pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron) which may restore the inner surface of the bladder. Medications may be instilled directly to the bladder. Nerve stimulation techniques such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and sacral nerve stimulation may help to relieve the symptoms. Bladder distention may also be helpful for some patients. Rarely, surgery may also be performed.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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